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Several attractions held throughout Paralympic city of Rio


09-16-2016 15:49 BJT

Full coverage: 2016 Rio Paralympic Games

The Games conclude this weekend, and several celebrations have been held, including an off-season Carnival. It's taking place on the popular Olympic Boulevard, in the city's renewed port area. And as Lucrecia Franco tells us, this Carnival is among several attractions aimed at increasing disability awareness.

This is the first and only samba school in the world designed for people with disabilities. It is called "Embaixadores da Alegria," -- "Ambassadors of Joy."

The group, founded by an English entrepreneur, has been taking part in Rio's famous Carnival parade since 2006. Now they are the biggest attraction of the Paralympics - performing at Rio's brand new Olympic Boulevard.

"The idea is social and emotional inclusion. In Brazil one of the biggest events is Carnival and until we created this project most people with disabilities weren't allowed to be in the parade," said Paul Davies, Samba School founder.

Not any more and Brazil's disabled are among those enjoying it most.

Samba is not the only attraction here at the Olympic Boulevard, a place that has become an alternative for those who can't go to the competitions but don't want to miss the excitement of the games.

Huge screens show the Paralympic sporting action daily. Something many here had never seen in their entire lives.   

"I think it is so important. These are people doing things that we abled-bodied can't do. It is beautiful and really important," said Lucia Nunes, public worker.

"We don't deal much with disabled people and the more we see, the more we respect the differences," said Claudino Barreira, retiree.

There is also an exhibition of wheelchairs that have been customized by local artists. It is called the wheel chair parade and the idea is to show that they can be transformed into works of art.

"It changes what we are used to seeing, as grey and black objects that remind us of hospitals. I would love to see people riding in the streets with these colorful wheelchairs," said Leandro Albuquerque, architect.
The kinetic sculpture rotating around the Olympic cauldron is meant to represent life - its designer saying it should serve as reminder that there are no limits to what a human can accomplish. It's clear those celebrating at this party - have taken that message to heart.

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